At the time my brother was gone, I was the only person I knew who had a situation like this. Knowing he was alive and choosing not to talk to me was devastating, but it also gave me hope. As I got older I realized this was really common for a lot of people.
This month has taught me to be more proactive, more careful about my decisions and more open to the advice of the people who care about me. It helped me build more bridges in conversation to have more men open up in everyday situations. Movember has shown me that I'm not alone.
Getting men at any age to believe that expressing themselves is a sign of strength is vital. It takes much more effort to be honest, forthcoming and do the work to address the mental health challenges in our lives than it does to avoid them.
There's a huge emphasis placed on how we cope with stress, anxiety and mental health challenges in our lives. Everyone has a different way of determining the difference between release and reinforcement.
Mental health is not having a problem. It's how you address all of the challenges in your life. It's how you handle stress, break-ups, rejection, lack of sleep, loss and everything else. We need a clear definition of mental health as a baseline.
In that moment I realized there was a huge part of me that I hadn't been working on in all of my years of therapy. It was an obvious piece of my cycles of dysfunction, but I was too consumed by my symptoms to see it. Through deep, heaving sobs I finally understood that I hated myself.
It is time to be going back to school with more than brand new backpacks filled with school supplies. Here's to the 2014-15 school year kick-off with vigilant attention to EVERY aspect of our children's health and development!